Dynamic simulation - model-based design

In Added Values, we use model-based design and dynamic simulation. Not many other technical advisors do so, which is unfortunate as the benefits are significant: This approach allows us to simulate various operating situations and identify any flaws before commissioning. This both saves time and money. Moreover, not only does the dynamic simulation ensure an efficient and smooth commissioning, but the process also delivers a quality assurance of the subsequent daily plant operation.

"Model-based" means that we use mathematical calculation models to predict or simulate how a physical system behaves. "Dynamic" refers to a particular type of equations describing how the physical system changes over time ؘ– e.g., how a warm system gradually loses heat to its surroundings.

We set up these mathematical models with the simulation language Modelica, which is particularly suitable for modeling large, complex dynamic systems. Modelica allows us to both simulate the physical processes (pumps, valves, fluid flows, heat exchange, etc.) and their associated control systems (controllers, logic, operator intervention, etc.). For example, we can simulate how a pump group controller behaves during high load, low load, outage, start-up of secondary pump, etc.

Modelica is also used by other professional actors in the energy industry and is widely used in the aviation and automotive industries.

Modeling and simulation of "Ny Krone"

We have applied model-based design in the project Fremtidens Fjernvarme  – Green District Heating –  for our customer DIN Forsyning in Esbjerg.  In short, the purpose of this comprehensive and complex project is to replace Esbjergværket’s coal-based heat production with a sustainable source of energy.

Together with DIN Forsyning, we have identified a solution comprising two seawater-based heat pumps, a woodchip boiler, and an electric boiler. The heat from these plants must be transferred to the district heating network, and this is where we and Modelica come into the picture.

In Esbjerg, district heating from these new plants must be distributed to consumers through the new pumping station — Ny Krone. This and more, Added Values ​​has modelled and simulated prior to the commissioning.artikel-/dynamic-simulation/grafik-trin-1-papir.png

Illustration:  Diagram and simulation model ”Ny Krone”

The work processes

Added Values ​​designed the control system for Ny Krone. Such a design process usually consists of four steps. This also applied in this case:

First, we design the control concept "on paper". This includes continuous PID controllers, logic interlocks and sequences for starting and stopping the plant. It is also important to describe these in a functional description with an overview of the parts we are dealing with, how they interact, etc. It is essential to gain an overview from the beginning.


Illustration: Part of functional description

Next (and parallel to step one) we transfer the design to Modelica. Here we also model the physical components and parameterize them (pump/valve characteristics, nominal temperatures, pressure, etc.). During the implementation, we can basically see if our design is sound or if the "paper design" needs to be corrected.

In the third phase, we simulate or test the various operating scenarios. Here we can test the system at high/low load, load changes, different temperatures, fault situations, interaction with associated systems and much more. This approach enables us to go into detail and examine the individual signals in our controllers. The purpose is to test as many realistic scenarios as possible so that errors are detected and corrected before commissioning.


Illustration: Simulation model for Fremtidens Fjernvarme

Finally — when the system is sufficiently simulated — we put it into commissioning on site. Our experience shows that most design errors are remedied when we apply the model-based design and simulate the operation of a system. It saves time and money for the customer, and it provides high operational reliability and availability.

In the project for DIN Forsyning, we thus designed and simulated how district heating from Ny Krone is distributed to the customers in the best possible way. To this end, the model-based method meant a well-organised and successful commissioning on time and without any major surprises.


Interested in more on dynamic simulation?

In this article, we explain how we used dynamic simulation for Sønderborg Fjernvarme with the purpose of improving the operation of their complex district heating plant.




Energy systems and markets

Energy systems and energy markets are handling the largest transition ever seen. A transition from a central and fossil-fuel based energy production to a mix of energy sources and a decentral green production. Nationally and at European level, the political objects for this transition are very ambitious.

Utilities and other production units of heat and power constantly focus on optimizing their business to meet future requirements for markets and energy systems.

We help them evaluate, analyse and implement the best technologies.

The focus is on interconnected power systems which provide synergy across own plants and which at the same time provide efficient sector coupling to external actors eg system services to the power grid and utilization of surplus heat from PtX plants.


Added Values expertise covers:

  • Feasibility of technologies, eg heat pumps with various heat sources
  • Assessment of technologies at market level
  • Research collaboration and development of new technologies
  • Technological road mapping and scenarios
  • Investment optimisation

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Plant and supply concepts

Energy markets and framework conditions are subject to major changes.These changes are pushing in the direction of a greener and more flexible fixed asset portfolio. Among other things, this means increased demands for continuous development and change of current and future energy plants and supply.

As a player in the energy industry, there is a need to work with all aspects of energy planning, production, and distribution within many different forms of energy as well as new technologies for efficient heating and cooling.

The adjustments must be made through well-considered investments and without compromising on operational reliability, energy efficiency, environmental impacts, and plant life. The high complexity in terms of framework conditions, technology options and operations require thorough and well-argued investment plans.

We help optimize the investments that the transition entails. The result will often be an optimized investment process (roadmap), which is robust to the changes / opportunities that the future brings.

We answer the "simple" question, “When and where should what types of plants be built in what size? “And not least, we document why. At the same time, we ensure the practical implementability of the roadmap and the operational robustness over the entire roadmap time horizon, eg up to 2040.


Added Values has expertise in:

  • Optimization of investment processes
  • Optimization of plant concepts
  • Design of financial control room
  • Modeling and simulation of plant and supply concepts

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Project implementation

Successful implementation of plant construction projects, whether it is new construction, expansion, conversion, or repair work, is a central focus point for any plant owner.

As a plant owner, you need to navigate safely through the entire process from the initial stages of requirements specification and tendering to commissioning. This requires a profound and updated technical knowledge and experience base that matches the suppliers and client consultants.

We help to set the right requirements for the new facilities, so that the greatest possible economic and environmental effect is achieved. In the construction phase, we help ensure quality and the right operating characteristics for the new plants.

And finally, in the commissioning phase, we assist in carrying out warranty testing and performance optimization both at the individual plant and across the entire portfolio (production and supply plant).


Added Values has expertise in:

  • QA on behalf of plant owners
  • Technical assessment of suppliers
  • Tender processes including requirements specification and evaluation criteria
  • Quality assurance on behalf of plant owners
  • Assessment of suppliers' technical standard
  • Function descriptions and programming for automation
  • Commissioning procedures and operating manuals
  • Commissioning of plant, automation and financial control room

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Plant in operation

For the individual plant owner, efficiencies in energy distribution and energy production are increasingly crucial to obtain good operating economy and good competition opportunities. This applies regardless of whether it is pure heat production, pure power production or combined power and heating systems.

For plant owners, operational optimizations must consider ongoing operations, work closely with the technical staff in both operation and planning, and involve all parties. In this way, the expected economic or technical objectives are realized.

We help assess and analyze the possibilities for improved performance, and we use our expertise in the detailed design of the adaptations that need to be implemented, both plant hardware and automation. Finally, we also assist with the purely practical issues by following-up on suppliers and by following-up on performance after the adjustment.


Added Values has expertise in:

  • Troubleshooting, optimization and flexibility (eg in relation to fuels, access to work area and flexibility)
  • Analysing energy efficiency (heat balances)
  • Analysing dynamic properties, eg for improving system services
  • Performance monitoring
  • Online support and optimization tools
  • Lifetime assessments, maintenance plans and unforced outage analysis
  • Analysis of efficiency, fuel combinations and sub-processes
  • Development of tools to support operations
  • Consulting and implementation of ongoing operational optimizations.

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